It is an Olympia tradition – for years Ballet Northwest has staged a ballet performance over Mother’s Day weekend. This year as part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Ballet Northwest presents a groundbreaking collaboration with members of the Olympia Symphony, titled Crescendo. The production will feature short works set to well-known orchestral pieces including Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, George Gershwin’s An American in Paris Suite, and Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5. The final piece is a suite of dances from the famous Russian classical ballet, La Bayadere, set to the music of Leon Minkus, the composer of Don Quixote.
Guest choreographers for Crescendo include former Dutch National Ballet Soloist Matthew Pawlicki-Sinclair, former National Ballet of China Soloist Xijun Fu, former American Repertory Ballet dancer Laney Engelhard, Eugene Ballet resident choreographer Suzanne Haag, South African choreographer Joanne Holbrook, University of Utah instructor Justine Sheedy-Kramer, and Ballet Northwest alumna Rachael Parnell.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for our dancers to work with these diverse and renowned guest choreographers who draw on a variety of styles including ballet, contemporary dance, character dance, and more,” said Ballet Northwest’s co-artistic director, Josie Johnson. The cast includes over 60 dancers from Thurston, Lewis, Mason and Pierce counties.
This production will be a treat for audiences and dancers alike in that it will feature live music. “It’s rare for many professional companies to dance to live music, so we’re thrilled for our collaboration with the talented members of the Olympia Symphony, led by guest conductor Anthony Spain from the Northwest Symphony Orchestra,” stated Ballet Northwest’s co-artistic director Ken Johnson. Members of the Olympia Symphony previously accompanied Ballet Northwest for its 2016 production of Coppelia and 2012 production of Carnival of the Animals and other premiere works. Ballet Northwest dancers have also been special guest performers at Olympia Symphony concerts over the years.
Olympia Symphony Executive Director Jennifer Hermann commented, “The Olympia Symphony is honored to be asked to collaborate with Ballet Northwest for their 50th Anniversary celebration. We are proud to provide the opportunity for local dancers to perform with a live, professional orchestra, and for our community to enjoy a complete artistic experience that brings our region’s talented dancers and musicians together on (and under!) one stage.”
Crescendo will also feature new costumes as well as striking video projections for An American in Paris designed by Ballet Northwest resident designer Jill Carter, who previously created the sets for The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Swan Lake.
Ballet Northwest continues its rich tradition of outreach into the community with its Dance Access Initiative, in conjunction with Crescendo. Co-Artistic Director Ken Johnson explained, “Over 900 elementary-age kids from the local school districts will be bused to a free student matinee abbreviated performance, followed by a question and answer session at the Washington Center. This is a great opportunity to expose children to the arts.”
Ballet Northwest presents Crescendo with the support of Dr. Andrew Kapust, DDS, PS, and Olympia Federal Savings. In addition, Ballet Northwest receives major support from Capital Heating & Cooling, Nisqually Indian Tribe, The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, City of Olympia, Washington State Arts Commission, and US Bank Foundation.
Crescendo will be performed at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Olympia May 8 through 10, Mother’s Day Weekend 2020. Curtain time is 7:30pm on Friday, 6:00pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday. Tickets range from $14 to $35, with discounts available to students, seniors, and youth. Student Rush tickets are available one hour before curtain. Tickets are available through the Washington Center Box Office at 512 Washington Street SE in Olympia or by calling 360-753-8566. Visit www.balletnorthwest.org for more information or buy tickets online at www.washingtoncenter.org/bnw.
WHO: Ballet Northwest & the Olympia Symphony
WHAT: Crescendo with members of the Olympia Symphony
WHEN: 7:30pm on May 8, 6:00pm on May 9, 2pm on May 10, 2020.
WHERE: Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington Street SE, Olympia, WA 98501
HOW: Ticket Office – 360-753-8566 or order online at www.washingtoncenter.org/bnw.
PRICES: Tickets are $14 to $35, plus $4.00 service fee per ticket. Student, senior, and youth discounts available. Student Rush tickets go on sale one hour before curtain.